Hito Steyerl. How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File. 2013

Hito Steyerl

How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File


Video (color, sound)
14 min.
Committee on Media and Performance Art Funds
Object number
© 2017 Hito Steyerl
Media and Performance Art
This work is not on view.
Hito Steyerl has 3 works online.
There are 2,160 videos online.

Artist and critic Hito Steyerl's video works explore how images are produced, circulated, and shared. The artist has referred to images as a "condensation of social forces," suggesting that through them we can trace the underlying systems of the contemporary world.

In this satirical take on instructional films, Steyerl demonstrates several tongue-in-cheek strategies for remaining "unseen" in a world subject to new, sophisticated means of surveillance—pointing to the ways in which our technologies encroach on physical experience. Much of the work was shot on a desert site riddled with photo calibration targets used by the military to hone the focus of airplane cameras. Acts of war are therefore mediated by digital tools; Steyerl drives this point home by superimposing a computer desktop onto the desert landscape, underscoring the links between economies of violence, communication, and entertainment. In her words, "How do people disappear in an age of total over-visibility? . . . Are people hidden by too many images? Do they go hide amongst other images? Do they become images?"

Gallery label from Cut to Swipe, October 11, 2014–March 22, 2015

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